By Jaya Kolluri
Every fall, many South Asians around the world celebrate one of the most important Hindu festivals — Diwali. Based on the story of The Ramayana, Diwali celebrates the victory of good versus evil as Rama, a Hindu god, his wife, Sita, and his brother, Lakshmana, return to the kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating the evil demon Ravana.
The victory of good versus evil— light over darkness— is the main reason Indian families place colorful and brightly lit candles around their houses to welcome Rama back from his voyage. Diwali is also celebrated with fireworks to symbolize light entering the house.
In some regions of India, Diwali is also celebrated as a new beginning. Hindus pray to the goddess of success and prosperity to ensure their happiness for the upcoming year. Although Diwali is not technically the Hindu new year, Indian families use this day to celebrate the past year and pray for success in the upcoming year.
Many students in the Winsor community celebrate Diwali with their friends and family. Diya Dronavadhyala spends the holiday “lighting candles all around my house, dressing up in new Indian clothes, and lighting fireworks at night with [her] friend.”
Students may remember a school-wide celebration of Diwali in 2018. Students of Indian descent hosted a lunch with Indian food and gave out bangles and mehndi, or henna. In the coming weeks, SASA, Winsor’s South Asian Student Association, is planning on hosting a big Diwali celebration on campus for everyone at Winsor. SASA plans to have an educational Upper School meeting, with the possibility of a dance performance, and even offer students the chance to get mehndi done during community time or lunch. The goal is to try to teach students more about South Asian culture and about the joy of the traditions. Anissa Patel said, “I hope to spread awareness of not only the purpose of Diwali but also get Winsor students to engage more with the culture, like the art forms and traditions. We hope the dance will really engage our audience!”
In the spirit of Diwali, SASA hopes that Winsor students will reflect on the meaning behind good over evil and light over darkness as they continue to move forward in their school year.